Home » Maritime, Ports/Terminals » Cebu port revises rules on free storage period extension for cargoes

The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) has revised the guidelines for granting an extension of the free storage period for cargoes at the Port of Cebu.

The revised guidelines, an update on the 1998 rules, seek to enhance port operations, maximize port utilization, and decongest storage areas of cargoes that stay in the port beyond the free storage period, according to CPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 01-2017.

Extension of the free storage period may be granted on several grounds. One is if the cargoes cannot be removed from the port by the owner, importer, shipper, or consignee due to force majeure. Once the free storage period expires, the extension is limited only until the force majeure situation lasts.

When the seizure or detention of cargoes by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) is later lifted or declared to be improper by competent authority, the extension of the free storage period shall be reckoned from the day the cargoes were seized or detained. However, cargoes carrying a penalty or fine imposed by BOC are not entitled to the extension.

Another ground for extending the free storage period is if cargoes are exempted by law from paying customs duties or fees, but not from storage fees, and the extension is due to causes which are not attributable to or are beyond the control of the cargo owner, exporter, importer, shipper, or consignee, as determined by CPA.

Extension is also granted to cargoes intended for charitable and similar purposes, as certified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health, and other government agency or instrumentality, or to cargoes intended for tax-exempt entities or individuals, where the delay is not attributable to or beyond the control of the cargo’s owner, shipper, importer, exporter, or consignee.

Another ground is if removal of cargoes or medical equipment, supplies, relief goods, and other similar items donated to the DSWD or any government agency is delayed due to causes not attributable or beyond the control of the owner, shipper, importer, exporter, or consignee of the cargo as determined by CPA. This is provided that such cargoes are intended for charitable or public purpose and not for profit or business of the donee.

AO 01-2017 also includes two new grounds for extension. One is in cases of computer system malfunction at the BOC, backed by a certification from the Port of Cebu district collector or deputy collector.

Another new ground is if the delay in removing the cargoes is due to government agencies’ delay in processing relevant documents, to system failure, or to other reasons outside the control of the cargo’s owner, importer, exporter, shipper, or consignee, as supported by a certification from the head of office of the concerned government agency.

The free storage period may also be extended in cases similar or analogous to the previous grounds as may be determined by the Cebu Port Commission.

An applicant must file for the extension within the free storage period or within 24 hours immediately after. However, if filing is delayed for a just cause or for reasons beyond the control of the applicant, the application may be filed within a reasonable time.

All requests for extension of the free storage period or for a refund of payment made under protest shall be processed at the Office of the General Manager (GM) of the authority.

The GM may approve a request to extend the free storage period or refund a payment made under protest if the amount involved is less than P1 million per shipment. If the amount is more than P1 million, the request will be forwarded to the CPA Board of Commissioners for approval. Previously, under AO 04-98, GM approval was needed if the amount involved was P500,000 , and the Board of Commissioners’ approval if the amount was beyond this.

The CPA GM shall decide on the application for extension, or the protest, or the request for a refund of payment made under protest within five calendar days of receipt of the application, provided that the applicant submitted complete or sufficient documents necessary for evaluating or processing the request. This is a new section under AO 01-2017.

If the GM denies an application, the applicant may, within five calendar days of receiving the decision, file through email, registered mail, or personal service, a request for the GM to reconsider. If the request is denied, the applicant may file an appeal with the Board of Commissioners within seven calendar days of receipt of the GM’s decision. – Roumina Pablo

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